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Presentation: Kathryn Maxwell Dec 10th 2019

Bushfire Risk to the Eurobodalla

Kathryn Maxwell

Ratepayer

Well, well, well. What else would we expect from the conservative block of 7 Councillors. Do everything you can to undermine the Rural Fire Service by allowing development in high fire risk areas and then try to shift the blame off the Council to the State Government and Rural Fire Service.

You have spend the last 3 years ignoring the community's pleas to change your approach that all development is good development, to take account of the rapidly changing climate, and restrict development to the town centres. This would make it much easier for the Rural Fire Service to protect life and property in a hotter and drier climate.

Now you want to shift the blame and responsibility fully onto the State Government claiming they have not done enough back burning. Once again you have conveniently ignored the facts:

· National Parks have a regular regime of hazard reduction burns for Parks in our area?

· Last year, National Parks actually conducted more hazard reduction burns than had been allotted to them due to suitable conditions?

· There is a narrow window in which to conduct hazard reduction burns (and getting narrower) where they can be controlled. If conditions are not conducive, burns do not achieve required outcomes or have to be postponed - we cannot control the weather?

· In National Parks, if an harzard reduction burn is ineffective or fails to take place due to conditions, it is done the following year if conditions allow. There is no waiting for another ‘so many years’(contrary to Councillor Pollock’s assertion)?

· Hazard reduction burns can actually enhance the bush fire risk as it encourages new thicker growth? Areas burnt on our property in the 2002 bushfires resulted in growth of thick stands of green wattle which are highly combustible. * Private property owners who wish to conduct HR burns on their property can do so on their own with appropriate consultations, or they can ask their local RFS brigade or Fire Control in town, and it will be arranged? In short, you can’t “achieve a more efficient process for Government and private property owners,” or “more frequent and regular hazard reduction burning in the State Forests and National Parks,” if conditions do not allow it. And, as stated above, private property owners can do harzard reduction burns, after consultation, at any time when conditions are appropriate. And as for, a commitment of resources by the NSW Government to ensure that required hazard reduction burns can be undertaken as and when required,” is just ridiculous.

· Resources can and are committed to hazard reduction burns, but conditions may not allow them to take place at that particular time. “The spread and intensity of recent fires are testimony to the need for change.” Yes it is. The need to admit there is a Climate Emergency. The need to act to counter what we are contributing to. If Councillor Pollock and his mates wants to live in a wasteland, then his motion would go far in achieving such an outcome. It certainly wouldn’t result in the preservation of our “bush and native wildlife,” let alone human health and survival. · Burning more, and more often does not solve the problem, it exacerbates it! · What The Council needs to do immediately:

· Get the Council's bushfire maps updated

· Set up bushfire refuges with air conditioners in every town, like the Bega Shire is currently doing

· Amend the Local Environment Plan to restrict future development to the existing town centres.

· Donate $330,000 immediately to the Rural Fire Service operations in the Eurobodalla – the amount you recently spent on tourism advertising.

· Extend the hours of operation of the Library so people can seek refuge from the heat and smoke.

· Extent the hours of the pools so people can keep cool in to the evenings and open the pool 7 days a week.

We are in for a very long hot and smoky summer and we residents and ratepayers need to know the Council is on our side looking after the broader community interests.


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